What is home? Is something I’ve been asking myself and others for as long as I can remember. Flying back to Belgium is like coming home. Just as moving to New Zealand meant moving home. Opening my notebook every morning, inhaling that first coffee scent, is coming home. Is home an actual place? Or is home a ritual you take with you wherever you go? Is home a concept that lives inside or outside yourself? I love to ponder this, just as much as I enjoy the feeling ‘home’ gives me.
Like every word containing meaning and feelings, there is always some kind of expectation attached to it. Coming home to Belgium after calling New Zealand home for more than two years was supposed to cancel out the homely feels I have had in other places, and overtake them. The big home umbrella over other little homes. But guess what, it doesn’t. Belgium doesn’t. My hometown doesn’t.
Is it because I haven’t been here for so long? Or because I have created ties with other faraway lands as much as I have with my homeland? My roots are here, but as soon as my parents move away, my roots move with them. I’ll be flying to Spain in March, excited to grow some roots for myself. In a place that was my home 12 years ago, when I lived and loved in Valencia for six months.
An entire lifetime in half a year. The start of it all. Of realising I don’t have to stay in Belgium, I can move somewhere else and call it home. I can come home to a different place. I can get to know the faces and streets of my neighbourhood. I can have a neighbourhood. Somewhere else, completely. Where people don’t speak my language and I feel like I’m holidaying while living and studying and working.
My love for the unknown, for the foreign, the different, the exotic, the mysterious. The starting from scratch, the knowing no one, nothing, no plan. To turn it into my life, my group of friends, my tribe, my neighbourhood, my home.